As many of you know, our Guides are based on middle and high school novels, so I am always looking for the next best young adult novel to review and share with you! I recently jumped on the amazing opportunity to review Iris and the Dragonflies, a reality-based fantasy about a precocious and adventurous 11-year-old loner who has a special gifts of being able to hear dragonflies speak and feel “energies” of the past.
The Amazon.com book description follows:Iris, a feisty, solitary, eleven-year-old girl prefers being down by the creek near her house more than anywhere else in the world. School is nothing but a joyless prison and uninterested in her classmates she spends each day gazing out the window, waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. Her only friends are the dragonflies who flit through the shoulder high bulrushes growing along the creek’s banks. Iris discovers the dragonflies are more than they appear to be and that she is the key to resolving an age-old battle between light and dark, good and evil. She has the ability to unleash the power of the Earth to restore the balance that has been lost. This however is not what the Solaris have in mind. They are the world’s most powerful Evil and Iris is the only one who can stop them! Will Iris and her friends be able to win this battle? Iris and the Dragonflies is empowering, and a must read for all girls.
The themes of friendship, courage and determination, acceptance and belonging, and understanding of self and others will certainly support most curriculum, while the fantastic and mythological nature, the mystery and suspense of the tale, and the journey of “saving the earth” will intrigue and entertain most pre-teens and teens.
The story is well-written, and contains many of the desirable elements of a good book. There is beautiful imagery and use of figurative language, a strong plot with certain suspense and clear conflict, and well-drawn, believable characters. While I do not feel as if this book is appropriate for a whole-class novel study, there are elements that would make this book a favorite for the ten to thirteen-year-old crowd. It has the adventure that boys crave, with a feisty young heroine that girls will both identify with—and admire. While the Irish dialect may be a little tricky to decipher on occasion and the mythological elements and Irish legend may be a little confusing to some young readers, it is the true adventure story –and the classic battle between good and evil—that will keep your students reading.
At the end of the book we are deliberately left with questions, as a sequel is in the works. This is especially exciting because I really believe that once you get a child “hooked” with the first in a sequel, they usually clamor for the rest of the series!
Overall, a very cute read, and one that many students will enjoy!
If you are interested in learning more about Iris and the Fireflies, visit http://www.irisandthedragonflies.com/Iris_and_the_Dragonflies/Iris. You can also LIKE Iris and the Fireflies at the Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/iris.and.the.dragonflies
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